Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo


Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Goodreads
Release date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Rating: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY BRAIN IS BROKEN. I CAN'T TURN THE CAPS-LOCK OFF. DEFINITELY NOT A CASE OF "SECOND BOOK SYNDROME".

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.



I would like to thank the amazing and most wonderful Christina for sending me this ARC. She deserves all the good things ever in the world. I might even share Sturmhond with her (might, big might).

My review of Shadow and Bone, book one in the Grisha Trilogy.
As always with sequels, there be spoilers for Book One in these waters. Ye be warned.
 

The cover: So obviously this cover is beyond gorgeous and few covers can ever compare to the beauteous-ness that is Siege and Storm so all the other covers should just go home. Hello. This one has a dragon on it. You can't beat a dragon. 

The story: Okay. So. My brain is little more than scrambled eggs right now. This may be a very discombobulated review, but the main gist of it is: I LOVED this book, especially at the beginning and ESPECIALLY at the end. That end blew my socks off. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At the end of Shadow and Bone, we left Alina and Mal just after they'd escaped from the Darkling on the Fold, aka that pesky swath of impenetrable darkness bisecting their war-torn homeland of Ravka. They're on the run across the True Sea, trying to evade him. Lucky for me, the Darkling's number one fan girl, they don't evade him for very long. I clapped with glee when my dark and evil prince returned to my life. He's a little badder know. A little eviller, a little more dangerous, and a lot more sexy. Yes, I realize that any truly romantic scenario between Alina and the Darkling would be disturbing, since at the end of the last book he destroyed a whole village and murdered everyone inside it, but he's just so fascinating. I love him. I love his dynamic with Alina. Like calls to like, after all. These two Grisha powerhouses play off each other so interestingly. They're light and dark, power and power, opposites and the same. They're both reaching for too much. I just love the Darkling, okay? My one complaint about Siege and Storm was probably that there wasn't enough Darkling. Because Darkling. My baby.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/5ba7d727ff7d46fa3131965ad4acd053/tumblr_mm9va9yqSi1r9j86xo1_400.gif

Mal and Alina's relationship suffers a bit in this book, and it's so realistic and natural and painful. Their differences make them drift apart, and you spend the whole book aching for them to remember their shared past and find each other again. DO THEY? I WON'T TELL. But because Leigh Bardugo knows the things I like (magic, fictional pain, and hot fictional boys), she chose to do something totally crazy and add a THIRD potential suitor for my Alina's heart.

Sturmhond. Hello, Sturmhond.

Zac here's gonna do most of the talking from here on out.

Sexy, silver-tongued privateer Sturmhond is, hands down, my new favorite character. He's changeable and slippery and oh so very witty. One of my favorite things about Siege and Storm is that, despite the very serious matters afoot, the characters retain a sense of humor, and none moreso than the delightful Sturmhond. I found myself laughing aloud almost every time he was on the page. I just want to sit down and share a bottle of kvas with him and have him flirt with me shamelessly. He and Alina have an excellent and awesome rapport. Their connection is so different from the one she shares with Mal. Alina herself has a really interesting internal journey in this one. She's grappling with a lot of power, the hopes of a divided nation, and the person she seems to be changing into. Also, she might be losing her mind (in the best/worst way possible). I don't dare say another word about it, but I have to say I love the complex person she's becoming. Dark parts and all.

Other character standouts include my old favorite David, kick-ass Tamar, and the awful Vasily. I can't really say anything about him, but MAN. Talk about disastrous characters flaws. So wonderful. So awful. Bardugo's writing continues to be lush and evocative, and her dialogue is witty, sharp, and always manages to stab me right in the heart. Her world-building is off the charts. Seriously, I would be willing to read a whole book on Ravkan folklore, or one about the saints. The Russophile in me adores all the call-backs to real  Russian culture, but I also love the original twists she puts on it (a proto-Faberge egg even pops up at some point, which for nerdy, personal reasons delights me greatly).

So. The plot.

 
 
 
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The Darkling catches up to Mal and Alina in the first chapter, so that's not a spoiler, and they head right back across the seas as his captives on one of Sturmhond's ships. They're off to catch an ice dragon. As one does. Now, I thought that would be the bulk of the plot, them on this ice dragon quest, but NOPE. THINGS HAPPEN SO QUICKLY. It's like one second we were here, and then this whole new wrench came out of nowhere and my mind was spinning. Somebody must have handed Bardugo a typical Book Two plot outline, and she must have laughed in its typical Book Two face, torn it to pieces, and simply said, "No." Things might have slowed down a little there in the middle, but in retrospect I was glad for the breather and for a chance to get some excellent political information. I'm usually pretty good at predicting the plots of books, but I literally had not one clue as to what was going to happen next. Eventually I just gave up trying to figure it out.

Which is why when the ending happened, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

 http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m19a24seAi1qd27gpo1_500.jpg

God knows what Ruin and Rising is even going to be about. The ending of Siege and Storm was my favorite part of the whole book because it was just this cavalcade of dread and action and misery and awesome. The whole last portion of the story was building up to this final point of conflict, slowly making me tenser and tenser, because I knew it was coming. But then SURPRISES WE'VE PUSHED THE ENDING UP AT BIT. IT SPRINGS OUT AT YOU BEFORE YOU'RE READY HOLY CRAP SOMEONE HOLD ME STURMHOND ZAC WHERE ARE YOU

http://www.teen.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/zac-efron-movie-quiz-result-high-school-musical-300x213.jpg

 With the way things ended, I literally don't have the faintest notion of anything that's going to happen in the next book. All the events in Siege and Storm are so radical that they change the entire landscape of Ravka. AND MY SOUL, I think. Reading this book was not a passive experience. Reading the final thirty pages consisted of me whispering, "Oh no, oh no, oh no, OH MY GOD, YES! No? No. NOOOOOOOO!" and flailing on my couch so dramatically that I scared my dog. I think I loved this book more than I loved Shadow and Bone, if that can be believed.

So. Ruin and Rising. It needs to be in my hands, and it needs to be there now. Because I CANNOT WAIT to see who rises and who's ruined. Here's to hoping it's our Sun Summoner Alina that rises, and not the Darkling (so many dirty jokes I had to pass up just now. It hurts).

BOOK!



18 comments:

  1. Hahah omg I love all the Zac Efron high school musical GIFs!! And man, this review just makes me want to read this right now! I read Shadow and Bone only a few days ago, and I'm already pining for this. Sturmhond sounds freaking awesome. Great review!

    Richa @ City of Books

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    1. Thankfully you don't have to wait long for Siege and Storm! Only a couple more weeks!

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  2. hahahah I was so busy getting my mind blown by this book I couldn't even come up with a legitimate review so congrats on your success. lol DEFINITELY not a case of middle book syndrome, Siege and Storm was so freaking fantastic. And OMG Sturmhond. What a fantastic character addition. This review is fantastic, I love it.

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    1. STURRRRRMHOND. That could have been my entire review. Just his name followed by a lot of gifs and maybe a keyboard smash or five.

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  3. I'm so excited to read this! Good to know it doesn't suffer from second-book-syndrome. Fantastic review!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I did.

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  4. SO excited to read, especially after the flawless use of Zac GIFs. You are just so good at making me excited about things! (Or maybe it was just the caps lock... :) )

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    1. THEN MY PLAN IS SUCCEEDING. Double whammy of caps and Zac Efron. No one can resist :)

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  5. YAY! I am SO glad that you love love loved this one, because 1) I sent you the ARC and 2) I love it and it is fun to fangirl in company, yo.

    You may have the Darkling. Sturmhond is mine. Glad we got that settled without eye-gouging. Also, that gif is the perfect gif.

    Lol, I won't tell about Mal and Alina, but I will say I was hoping they wouldn't get over their problems. They need to drift. They're not healthy as a couple. I think he's her worst choice, even though he's the most stable. He's not what she NEEDS.

    *drools*

    *wipes drool* Well, that was embarrassing. I was just imagining Sturmhond flirting with me shamelessly and *drools*

    Okay, moving on.

    You made a new dance out of gifs. That is awesome.

    Also, I TOTALLY thought the ice dragon quest would be the whole book and it was over by like page fifty and I was all CHICKAWHAT, LEIGH BARDUGO, YOU MIGHT BE GOING TOO FAST. But, that Leigh, she's a wily one. She knew what she was doing.

    YES TO THIS: "it was just this cavalcade of dread and action and misery and awesome." I loved it so hard. MWHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lylag9UDeu1qfxfs8.gif

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    1. I'M SORRY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL I GIVE YOU STURMHOND. I said I'd SHARE. Maybe. MAYBE. I don't care that I'm forever indebted to you for sending me the ARC. I'm not THAT grateful.

      I agree with your Mal ideas, but it also makes me sadddd, so I'm hoping they can BECOME healthy? Or she runs off into the sunset with Sturmhond and they live awesomely ever after. That's actually what I want. *also drools*

      YOU'RE WELCOME, ZAC, YOU'RE WELCOME.

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  6. OMG that "Gilmore Girls" GIF. So. Freaking. True. (lol!) I agree - that was my biggest complain too, that there wasn't enough Darkling. Otherwise, such a good book!

    (On a side note: I'm in love with your blog design. SO CUTE!) :)

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    1. Aw, thanks! I love my blog design, though I sometimes wonder if it's not "bookish" enough.

      And yes. More Darkling always. Darkling in every chapter.

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  7. LOVING THESE GIFS! They're making me laugh too hard. Hehe. But great review! I was a big lover of the first book so it sounds like I'll be an even BIGGER fan of the sequel as well. :D

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    1. Oh, trust me, if you loved the first book, you'll LOVE the second one. IT IS AMAZING.

      I'm glad Zac and his expressive ways could make you laugh!

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  8. I'm one of the few people who hasn't read the first book and I really need to!!!!! This review really convinced me that I really need to read Shadow and Bone!! I love your GIFS and Great review!!

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    1. Eeep! Yes, read Shadow and Bone! I'm sorry if my Siege and Storm review spoiled you a bit. But definitely get on that!

      :D Thank you!

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  9. Amazing review sweetie ;D I must admit to NOT liking the Darkling much. But I can understand why people love him. Just don't understand if people love him as a love interest, because that would be kind of sick, especially after this book, to be honest :D Hih (A) I just did not like Sturmhond, though. Sigh. I could have loved him, truly, if only he hadn't been sort of a love interest. That broke my heart. I hated the trouble between Mal and Alina :( Sobs. But oh. The book was just so perfect even so. And the ending! GAH. It's killing me. I need to know what happens next :) Also need so much more of Mal. <3 Thank you for sharing your amazing review :D I'm so glad you loved it too. <3

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  10. Finally going back through old saved reviews and found this one. Best S&S review I've read. Also, I can't stop giggling.

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